Monday, 21 December 2015

Review! (Woo!) - World Gone By by Dennis Lehane

World Gone By Dennis Lehane book coverTitle: World Gone By. (US link.)

Author: Dennis Lehane .

Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction, Gangster.

Series: Coughlin (#3.)

A few starting notes:

I'm a Dennis Lehane junkie. Pure. Simple. True. So when I saw World Gone By (US link) at the library, I really couldn't help myself.
This is #3 in the Coughlin series - following Danny Coughlin (in The Given Day, (US link,)) and later baby brother Joe Coughlin (in Live By Night (US link) and World Gone By (US link).)
It can definitely be read as stand-alone, though there are spoilers for Live By Night (US link) in particular. To be honest, you'll get much more out of this book if you read Live By Night (US link) first - just for the character history if nothing else.
My sequel-reviewing rules apply here. No spoilerage for the series beyond what's in the book blurb here.

Premise:

Tampa and Ybor City, Florida, the 1940s. Joe Coughlin is a gangster from back in the days of prohibition.
Joe knows how to get money made; and its mutually beneficial for all of his... associates. So no-one would want him dead... right?
Is his lifestyle - his years of sin - about to catch up with him?

Best bits:

Lehane, what are you doing to me? A gangster on the young side of 40, a bad boy with a dangerous past, who treats women right and is a loving and sensitive single father? I should not be in love with Joe right now, damn you! He's a gangster! He kills people!
But I totally am, and it's all your fault Lehane.
The writing sweeps you along - as is typical of Lehane books. There's something about his prose which is almost lyrical; and which I totally love.
It also puts your feels (or, in non-fangirlian: emotions,) through the wringer. (Damn you Lehane!) but it's like: I love you book. You just ripped out my heart and handed it to me, and that is why I love you. (*Maniacal laughter.*)

Not so great bits:
As seems to be true for most of the books I read, this sure as hell ain't for the faint of heart. There's loads of swearing, violence, blood and guts.
There's also some racial slurs - including repeated use of the 'n' word. While that's in-keeping with a) the historical setting, and b) the fact that gangsters, as a rule, aren't particularly politically correct, it's still not OK.
This isn't a happy book. This is pretty grim. If you've read any books by Lehane before, you'll know what I mean - if not, well, just trust me.
Verdict:

I loved this book. A slick gangster novel that's firmly rooted in character and nuance rather than mindless shootings in every paragraph. This is subtle, absorbing, and quite simply excellent.

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